Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Great fun. 'Escape from New York' is another good example of '80s action where, in a similar way to movies like 'To Live and Die in L.A.' and, of course, 'The Thing', it focuses more on mood and atmosphere than it does on a multi-layered story. With a good, low-key concept, Carpenter is able to effectively create an excellent video-game adaptation - except it isn't based on a video game. Throughout the film I was constantly thinking how well-suited this would be to that kind of format - landing the plane, finding the president etc. etc. In a way, I think it's the films simplicity that is responsible for a lot of its charm. Without Carpenter's distinct visuals and music, along with a stoic performance from Kurt Russell, the movie just wouldn't be as effective. It has a premise filled with potential, and for once, it's actually taken full advantage of. It's also executed in typical Carpenter fashion, where all the characters have distinct personalities and traits, but we don't really know anything about them - and to be honest, it's once again this simplicity that gives the film such appeal. I wish we could have more stuff like this nowadays - 'Dredd' was a great example of just how entertaining these types of B-movies can be.
All in all, it's just well-made fun, which is really quite refreshing to see.
'Rear Window' is a masterclass in plotting, characters and dialogue. The premise is genius, and Hitchcock wrings every ounce of suspense he can from it. I particularly appreciated the decision to always show everything from the perspective of our central character - making us feel trapped and helpless in the same way he does, particularly in the final 20 minutes. The movie looks fantastic and, for 1954, the direction is very sophisticated, and it's easy to see why the movie is held in such high regard. There are times where the pacing starts to suffer, but even then James Stewart's understated, enigmatic performance keeps you invested. It's not just him though - the characterisation of all the cast, small part or large, is excellent; with particular note to Thelma Ritter's Stella, who stole every scene she was in. I think it would have worked better as a compact 90 minutes, but a really great thriller nonetheless.
Without a doubt one of the best films ever made, and I don't say that lightly. Masterpiece is a word thrown around all too easily today, but this absolutely, unequivocally deserves that title. It's also a film where I don't think anything I write can really do it justice, so in this case - less being more - I say this: if you haven't seen 'Schindler's List', make sure - at some point in your life - you do so. It has the power to make you lose all hope in humanity and then regain it once more within the space of 3 hours, and most tragically and importantly, it all happened.
It's hard to pinpoint what a movie has to do to make you feel something unique. It's a tough feat to pull off at the best of times, and going into 'Call Me by Your Name', I was expecting something good, but certainly nothing like what I got. I think, if I had to describe this movie in one word, it would be therapeutic. Luca Guadagnino, who completely outdid my expectations, manages to capture such a leisurely atmosphere with the warm summer days - cycling, reading and resting by the pool - that it just makes you feel totally relaxed and comfortable. The fact that there isn't really a plot also helps achieve this. The central love story, which was handled very well, feels so much more emotive and rewarding thanks to this setting, and whilst everything is really great and well-handled, I think it's this warm, content atmosphere that makes the movie really stand out as unique. Of course, this effect can only be achieved if all the pieces are correctly assembled, and this is in no small part thanks to the wonderful direction and cinematography - which again create a rather soothing affect on the viewer. The two lead performances - especially Chalamet - are easily some of the best of 2017. In many ways, it's their performances that inhabit this world and make it feel fully-realised and, ultimately, real.
I can't praise 'Call Me by Your Name' enough. It took me completely by surprise, and I can see this becoming an annual summer-time necessity for me. And I really want to visit Italy now.
This is going to take some time to fully process - but naturally, there's some truly impressive stuff mixed in here. The whole film is interesting and the character of Alexander DeLarge is fascinating to watch, but the film's ending is where all the insightful discussion can take place. I've seen views that conclude Alex to indeed be "cured" and others that claim he is exactly the same person as he was at the beginning. In my opinion, neither of these arguments really fit the bill. Whilst the end also has further meaning in regards to government influence and corruption - a theme that has been explored to death by this point - what's key I feel is that Alex has, in many ways, finally managed to cement himself within society. Kubrick paints the picture of a world in which - although Alex is way beyond the realms of normal behaviour at the beginning - there is a slightly violent and deranged side to every human being, no matter how big or how small: the police officer who smirks with satisfaction at seeing Alex lick the shoe during the demonstration sequence; the husband who Alex had previously had an encounter with that takes pleasure in locking him up and torturing him with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; the old men who get their own back at Alex after his 'conversion'. This is where the criticism of society comes in - really the entire point of dystopian literature - in which Kubrick suggests that depravity is within everyone, just more extreme and dangerous in some than others; and exaggerated for effect within the confines of the film. So by the end, it appears that Alex has managed to find a middle ground - his imagination is less violent, and he can now lust over sex and violence without actually feeling the need to exact his fantasies. In effect, Alex has become close enough normal. His sarcastic comment before the credits roll acts more as a statement from Kubrick on humanity than merely Alex himself.
Or at least, that's how I see it now. But as always with Kubrick, it takes a while to truly set in.